Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most popular safari destination in Uganda. Though not as popular as Masai Mara and Serengeti National Park, Bwindi is a unique destination that visitors to East Africa should not miss. If you love forest expeditions this is the ultimate expedition that will even give you an opportunity to look into the pensive eyes of the mountain gorillas.
Bwindi is home to two amazing apes; the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. Other animals that live in the park include forest elephants many reptiles and amphibians etc. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the reasons as it gained this status was that it used to host three great apes that lived in amicable peace within the forest.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as world heritage site since 1994. If you’ve never been to Bwindi, you’re missing out and below we give you the interesting activities you should not miss out once you visit, are the reasons.
Mountain Gorilla Tracking
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a renowned home to the remaining mountain gorillas. This is where visitors get the chance to meet the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking always begins with briefing before setting off to the jungle at 8:00 am by the game rangers. There are 18 gorilla families in total in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest at different sectors including Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, Rushaga and only 8 people are allowed per family. Gorilla watching is strictly for one hour and during the session you will see how they behave, feed, take photographs and when one hour elapses you trek back to the headquarters where you will be awarded your certificates upon completion of the trek. A gorilla watching permit costs US$ 600 till July 2020. You are advised to book your gorilla safari early enough through a trusted tour operator since the gorilla permits sell out fast.
Participate in Gorilla Habituation Experience
The gorilla habituation experience is an experience that can only be taken in Bwindi. This is the process where mountain gorillas are trained to get used to human presence. If you ever want to know how to habituate these great apes, dare not miss out a visit to Bwindi National Park. Unlike gorilla treks where you spend only one hour, gorilla habituation permits 4 hours of watching the apes . This activity comes at a price of US$1500 per person. The gorilla habituation process takes place daily and only 4 visitors are allowed to meet a habituated family.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one the best destinations for bird watching in Africa. This is a great place to see endemic Albertine birds. Indeed, the national park offers excellent bird watching experience. There are over 364 birds that have been recorded in the park. Some of the Albertine endemic bird species include; Red-throated Alethe, African Green Broadbill, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Short-tailed Warbler, Collared Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Purple-breasted Sunbird, RwenzoriTuraco, Kivu Ground Thrush, etc. Some of the must visit places are the Rwamunyonyi peak in Ruhija and Mubwindi swamp south of Bwindi.
Experiencing cultural encounters
In additional to gorilla trekking as the main activity, there are also other activities like culture encounters around the with in community. Village walks will take you to a fuse of the indigenous local Bakiga and Batwa community who will tell stories about their life style, show the hunting skills, cultural dancers among others, along the trail you will find craft shops selling handmade art crafts, wood carvings, bees wax candles and many more.
Mountain Biking is one of the latest adventures within Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Mountain biking in Bwindi is a community initiative named “Ride for a woman”. It is organized by Buhoma Community Rest Camp and takes a 13 kilometer well maintained trail to Ivi River departing from the park headquarters in the morning and the round trip takes six to seven hours. Along this trail, you may see wildlife such as bush-bucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys.